Glendon - English

Volume 7 - Issue 1 - Spring 2011

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Page 8 of 29

CONVOCATION VIOLA LÉGER SPEAKS TO US! SPEECH BY MS. VIOLA LÉGER, RECIPIENT OF AN HONORARY DOCTORATE FROM GLENDON COLLEGE Mr. Chancellor – The Honourable Roy McMurtry, Mr. President and Vice Chancellor – Mamdouh Shoukri, Principal Kenneth McRoberts, (Venerable) Honorees, members of the Faculty and staff, (Honorable) Graduates, students and alumni, Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen. What an honour and what a privilege it is to become a member of the Glendon College, York University family! Thank you for sharing your renowned liberal arts education - the social sciences and humanities - and sharing your commitment to diversity, equity and social justice: the core of our human life. Like many of you, my identity already feeds on a variety of deep, vast, and diverse sources. And so many other pieces have also become part of my identity. I am Acadian, I am Canadian, I was born in the United States. I have played on plenty of stages across the world, from Moncton to Monaco, passing Paris, Montreal, Toronto, and Winnipeg. And countless others! I speak French and I speak English, too. I was a Senator in the Government of Canada. But my real identity, like yours, goes far beyond words. It transcends the language we speak. It is the product of life, both rich and sad experiences, searching questioning, and discovering too. And this is how we find one another. Recognize one another. Understand one another. The link is cross-cultural. And this cross-cultural link is a source of hope. Because no more do we line up our cultures to admire or analyze them. And no more do we melt them in a great cauldron, striving to fit our soul and our creations into one mould. Cross-cultural reality is light years away from the melting pot. Neither culture suffocates the other. They nurture one another. From the cross-cultural, springs new perceptions of life. And this, it seems to me, is what happens with art. As you can imagine, my years in the Senate were both a pri - vilege and a huge lesson of the vastness and complexity of this great country, Canada. In the Upper House, I rubbed elbows with many distinguished, dedi cated and highly skilled individuals. I was particularly im - pres sed by the achievements of the committees and Senate staff who represent the institution with integrity and profes sio na lism. The four years I spent in the Senate have been a source of continual reflection, constructive internal debate, curiosity and relevant search, which in the end, define democracy. Ms. Viola Léger A TOAST TO VIOLA LÉGER Ms. Viola Léger, an actress who played the role of La Sagouine and former Senator of Canada was awarded an honorary docto - rate by Glendon College at last June’s Convocation cere mony. The Glendon Magazine is pleased to present the toast that was offered to her as well as her inspiring speech. I am delighted to have the honour of raising a toast to Madame Viola Léger. I have long been a fan since the days when, as a stu dent, I saw the great lady of theatre in a scene when she played the role of the unforgettable Sagouine – a housekeeper who tells the story of her life with a touch of humour and a wonder ful outlook. Viola Léger is well known for her role as Sagouine, which she played more than 2000 times in English and in French. But Viola Léger is not only Sagouine; she is a gif - ted individual with many talents. Her accomplishments are many. She has been a teacher, a film, television and stage actress, a director and theatre manager in both of Canada's official languages, which she defends with great ardour and eloquence. In 2001, she was appointed to the Canadian Senate. During her time as a Senator, Viola Léger dis - tin guished herself as a champion of minorities. She defen ded dif ficult and often challenging causes: the rights of Canada's Abo riginal peoples and of linguistic minorities as well as the reco gnition of Canadian artists. Viola Léger is an ambassador for a language, a people, a region: Acadia. Throughout her career she received various well- deserved honorary distinctions. This is an energetic and tireless woman who continues to inspire a new generation with her enthu siasm, talent and above all, her passion. Please raise your glasses and join me in paying homage to Viola Léger, an exceptional Canadian, a worthy representative of Aca - dian culture and of Canada’s Francophonie, a defender of the rights of minorities and a talented artist. Like the Sagouine, she is a national treasure. May she continue to inspire us with her moving performances for many, many years. To your health, Madame! Rosanna Furgiuele Glendon Magazine 2011 ] 7 [ La Revue de Glendon 2011

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